Facing an emergency expense and need cash quickly? Online payday loans promise fast approvals and next day funding, without credit checks. With hundreds of online payday lenders, it is essential to compare offers to find the best deal with the lowest rates and fees. Follow these steps to contrast instant payday loans online and borrow affordably.
What Are Online Instant Payday Loans?
Payday loans are small, short-term cash advances, typically from $100 to $1,000. Online payday lenders provide completely automated applications that are quick and convenient.
Once approved, loan funds get electronically deposited as soon as the next business day. Useful in emergencies, but online payday loans have very high interest rates, often exceeding 500% APR.
Why You Should Compare Online Lenders
With so many payday lending websites, interest rates and fee policies differ widely across lenders. Comparing allows you to:
- See the full range of cost options in the current market
- Identify illegal or predatory lenders to avoid
- Uncover lenders offering introductory discounts for new borrowers
- Weigh factors beyond just interest rates, like repayment terms
- Validate you have the right loan amount for your needs
- Find the most reputable lenders with transparent terms
- Save money by ultimately choosing the lowest total cost loan
The more online lenders you objectively compare, the higher the potential savings. But where do you start?
Step 1: Search for Top Payday Lending Companies
Run online searches for terms like “best payday loans” or “top payday lenders”. Take note of lenders appearing frequently in results across sources. Also check consumer sites listing payday loan company rankings.
Create a list of the 8-12 most recommended national payday lending brands to research further. Cross-reference against Consumer Finance Protection Bureau complaint data and Better Business Bureau ratings.
Step 2: Visit Each Lender’s Website
Access the website for each of your top payday lender picks. Look for:
- Company history, credentials, and licenses
- Testimonials and customer reviews
- Explanation of approval criteria
- Transparency about rates, fees, terms, penalties
- Member of Online Lenders Alliance
Vetting background, reputation, and upfront disclosure practices helps determine legit lenders versus predatory sites. Scratch any raising red flags off your list.
Step 3: Review and Compare Interest Rates
Interest rates substantially impact your total loan cost. Carefully note and contrast the Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) advertised by remaining lender picks.
Some questions to consider:
- Does the APR range from 200% to over 500%? This is typical.
- Does the lender disclose interest costs upfront prominently?
- Does the lender offer lower introductory interest rates?
Select the 3-5 lenders offering the most competitive interest rates for further comparison.
Step 4: Understand and Compare Fees
Beyond APR interest, online payday lenders charge origination fees and penalties like:
- Origination or documentation fees (often $15-$30 per $100 borrowed)
- Late payment fees
- Early repayment fees
- Non-sufficient fund fees (if automatic withdrawal fails)
Compare and total the entire “all-in” costs across your remaining lender picks. Calculate the total fees based on factors like:
- Your specific loan amount needed
- Chosen loan repayment term
- Your likelihood of late or early repayment
Go with lenders offering the overall lowest total fees for your situation. Having the sole lowest APR may not always be cheapest once you factor in fees.
Step 5: Compare Loan Amount Limits
Each lender sets maximum loan amount limits approved, often based on state laws. If borrowing near the $1,000 range, compare upper limits to ensure the lender permits the size you need.
Loan size limits also indicate restrictions for customers with lower credit. Having expanded loan amount eligibility with a lender provides options to borrow more safely as your financial profile improves.
Step 6: Contrast Repayment Windows and Terms
Repayment rules also differ across online payday lenders:
- Repayment term length (typically 7-30 days)
- Flexible early repayment options
- Ways to extend terms via payment plans
If your budget is uncertain, lenders with flexible repayment windows, longer terms, and free early repayment provide more options. Just avoid rollovers which incur expensive fees.
Step 7: Read All Terms and Conditions
Never apply until reading the full loan contract terms and conditions carefully. Watch for:
- Clear fee disclosures reinforcing advertised rates
- Prepayment penalties or restrictions
- Consequences of non-payment like collections, credit reporting
- Required electronic repayment authorization
Favor lenders with clear contracts devoid of fine print tricks and traps. Transparent terms with fair fee disclosures build trust.
Step 8: Evaluate Customer Service and Reviews
Before deciding, research your final lender picks:
- Call their customer service line with questions and judge responsiveness.
- Read online reviews complaining of hidden fees or billing issues.
- Check for valid contact information like a customer service phone number and physical addresses.
Select lenders with quality customer service ratings and few unresolved complaints. This provides confidence they will treat you fairly post-approval.
Final Tips for Comparing Online Payday Loans
- Contrast total costs, not just interest rates in isolation
- Check state license statuses and permitted loan amounts
- Understanding repayment rules is just as important as fees
- Favor lenders with flexible terms and early repayment options
- Read the full loan agreement and disclosures before signing
- Research customer reviews and complaints across multiple sites
The more thoroughly you compare online instant approval payday loans, the higher your chances of finding the perfect lender match with the optimal rates and terms for your financial situation. While fast cash is tempting, take your time researching to maximize savings and avoid regret down the road. The cheapest loan today saves you money with each repayment.